Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Gun Control:" The Word Inflames and Unites Anger (and Unnecessarily)

I Wonder: Have Members of Congress Ever Seen This Simple Statement???
(Cartoonist Mike Smith nails it as they say)

This post is quite long, but I think timely and important - enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

People with serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, do have a slightly higher risk of committing violence than members of the general population. Yet most violence is not attributable to mental illness. Surprise, surprise, surprise (as Gomer Pyle would quip).

Updated on the numbers from this fine article from Tucson, Arizona – so tag along with this intro:

In the month that followed the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon — in which a 26-year-old man killed eight students and a professor — Congress has turned not to gun control, but mental health. Six days after that shooting, Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), sponsored the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, a bill first introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Senate. Backed by the NRA (of course), the law would “enhance the ability of local communities to identify and treat potentially dangerous, mentally-ill offenders,” as well as “help fix the existing background check system" – that according to Sen. Cornyn’s press release. The bill has gone on to receive bipartisan support, a rare feat in today’s polarized congressional climate.

So logically one must ask: Why is Congress so focused on mental health when it comes to addressing gun violence? That is in essence that Congress believes addressing mental health concerns, and not enacting stricter gun control, will serve as the best response to the latest round of gun violence. But does the data and that thinking support the facts or these reasons congressional gun rights advocate?
One: Mental health is a safe and popular issue, particularly compared to gun control. Nearly all Americans agree that mental health is a problem, and over 70 percent believe the nation needs to make “significant” or “radical” changes. In contrast, less than half of Americans support stricter gun laws.

Two: Mass shooters routinely come across as mentally ill in the news — their diaries, plots and final statements subject to hours of media analysis and social media discussion. Trained psychiatrists might tell us that a given shooter was sane, but to the average American, anyone who commits a mass murder qualifies as mentally disturbed.
However, even if one assumes that most mass shooters are indeed mentally ill — whether diagnosed or not — mass shootings make up less than 1 percent of all gun deaths in America, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

If there is any data that supports the connection between gun violence and mental illness, it is suicide.  People with mental illnesses are about 12 times more likely to commit suicide, and suicide-by-firearm is by far the most deadly method.  More than nine in 10 suicides involving a firearm are successful. In contrast, less than half of pill- or poison-related suicide attempts result in death

The highest rates of mental illness are in Utah, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Vermont. The Pacific Northwest, the “Rust Belt” and the “Bible Belt” also exhibit higher-than-average rates. California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut have among the lowest rates of serious mental illness.
This Map Shows Adults with Serious Mental Illness (click your state or click on another):

This Map Shows Gun-related Deaths (click your state or click on another):

Now a conclusion “gun nuts” will hate and try to disprove – but they can’t only in their rabid opinions but not based on the facts – their motto: “Don’t confuse my opinion with the facts.”

The big picture is mixed. Big states like California, Texas and New York seem to confirm Congress’ hypothesis, as each state features a low rate of mental illness next to a low rate of firearm-related death. But several more states fly against the theory. Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Vermont all boast mid to low rates of firearm deaths, despite having high rates of mental illness.
But what about the same map with suicides removed, as advocated by the Washington Post? Here, we turned to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This Map Shows Data that Cannot be Disputed (at least with a straight face):

As seen on that map, there’s even less evidence to suggest that mental illness and firearm murders go hand in hand. In fact, for several regions, the opposite trend emerges: namely, that low rates of mental illness tend to accompany high rates of firearm-related homicide. The discrepancy is particularly notable in the West, the South and the Northeast.
Data from the National Center for Health Statistics further refutes the connection between mental health and gun deaths. According to its database, fewer than 5 percent of the 120,000 gun-related killings from 2001 to 2010 were committed by people diagnosed with mental disorders. 

I conclude therefore, and BTW: I do support the right to bear arms and the Second Amendment and I would not change one word or it, but (yet, that but) we need better rules for owning guns and certainly need to do away with that crazy “right to open carry” craze sweeping the country – mental health issue – that certainly is it in my view.

Further, I conclude, guns make death pretty quick, efficient, sure, and thorough. As they say, it’s hard to outrun a bullet once the trigger is pulled. Let’s face it, no one per se is a murderer until they pull that trigger, whether they are a legal gun owner or not; whether they are an ardent gun rights advocate or not; or whether they are a staunch gun control advocate or not. None of that matters one bit once the rigger is pulled to end a life. Documented self-defense is not the issue – more rational gun control procedures is the issue. Right now we don’t have much across the board and the date proves it, too.  

So, gun "control the word" or some other? How about: "Sane and common sense gun regulation" - that is better phrase and makes more sense.

Once again, thanks for stopping by. Voice your views to your member of Congress - this is a national interest issue by any measurement.

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